by Ted Bridis, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI "moved heaven and Earth"' to heighten security
for Sunday's Super Bowl game and next month's Winter Olympics, the bureau's
Nevertheless, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Thursday, America should remain
on a "very high state of alert ... for some time."
Mueller, meeting with reporters, said he believes groups of waiting terrorists
exist even within the United States and certainly continue to operate overseas.
"There may well be those in the United States," he said. "Do
I know for sure? I believe there are, but I cannot say for sure." He was
far more certain that such cells continue to operate overseas.
Mueller said information about possible threats to the United States has emerged
from interviews with captured al-Qaida soldiers and an enormous cache of documents,
videotapes and other materials recovered in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The FBI, military and U.S. intelligence agencies are keeping a painstaking
inventory of captured documents and other materials, scanning them electronically
and making them available to investigators on a secure computer network coordinated
in Washington, said Mueller.
"We're still on a very high state of alert, and part of that comes from
what you have seen as documents coming out of Afghanistan," he said.
Mueller said fighting in Afghanistan "has disrupted al-Qaida" and
that terror organization's ability to carry out major attacks. The FBI still
is frustrated in its efforts to piece together a complete picture of the events
leading up to September's attacks against New York and Washington.
"We know half as much as we'd like about those in the attacks of Sept.
11," Mueller said.
He said there were, during different periods, from two to 10 FBI agents in
Kandahar, Afghanistan, to interview captured soldiers and others but not to
participate in combat. "The agents are not in the military," he said.
As more soldiers are brought to the U.S. military prison in Cuba, the need for
FBI agents in Afghanistan has dwindled, he said.
- Called the criminal investigations of Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid
"part of a patchwork of cases that will paint a partial picture of Osama
bin Laden" and his activities in the United States. Moussaoui is the only
person so far charged criminally in the Sept. 11 attacks; Reid is accused of
trying to detonate a shoe bomb aboard a commercial flight from London to Miami.
- Expressed confidence that investigators ultimately will find the person responsible
for mailing anthrax. "We're still interviewing a number of people at labs
around the country and overseas,'' he said. "There is promise."
- Said the FBI has better procedures in place "to connect the dots"
in cases like that of Moussaoui, whose activities in the United States puzzled
investigators even in the weeks before Sept. 11; the FBI said it lacked enough
information to arrest him until the attacks against New York and Washington.
- Talked during his recent trip to the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, with
Saudi officials about why there were so many Saudis among the captured soldiers
at the U.S. military facility in Cuba. "The authorities in the countries
that have citizens that were involved in either the events of Sept. 11 or are
members of al-Qaida are all concerned about the possibility of these individuals
committing acts in the future."
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- Repeated that, as part of a broad reorganization of the bureau, he wants
FBI agents around the country focused more on counterterrorism and counterintelligence
cases, rather than "stand-alone" criminal investigations, such as